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From: Aubrey (
Subject:         Re: I'm a failure
Date: November 19, 2007 at 11:08 pm PST

In Reply to: I'm a failure posted by Kim on November 8, 2007 at 5:05 am:

Ahhh, I used to be an "over-achiever, too". It lasted, oh, until I got tired of forcing the kids to do their studies. :) You do not need to do 7 subjects a day.

My 9 y.o's (4th grader's) day looks like this:
20 min ~ Spelling practice
1 hour ~ Language Arts~ (Writing, reading, grammar, etc.)
45 minutes-`1 hr ~ Math
35 min break/lunch/play
45 + Social Studies/Science
Play outside for awhile.
In the evening, she will finish anything she couldn't finish, or will review math facts/spelling.

That's it.

My 6 year old is in 1st:
20 ~ 100 Easy Lessons
20-30~ Enter work in Main Lesson Book/read a story with her phonics sound, word families, flash cards, writing, spelling, etc.
10 ~ Calendar work, counting, sing a song
Play (usually, until her sister is done needing my help.)
45-Science/Social Studies

We sometimes do art projects separate, or do them for different subjects to mix it up a bit.

I only have 2 daughters, but a few things have helped me out A LOT...

I went to You can read about getting into a routine on there, but this is what my day looks like:

I began by getting to bed, and getting up at a decent hour... for me... (No, it is not your 5:30 a.m... wow, kudos to you... I couldn't do it.)

I get up, and immediately make my bed. I get dressed, put on shoes & makeup, and get breakfast started. While I am doing that, the kids make their beds, get dressed, and straighten up their room (which was cleaned the night before). They brush their hair, and play until breakfast is done. We eat. After we eat, I have them sit down and do unassisted work... cursive, copywork... whatever keeps them busy until I can rinse and load the dishwasher.
I begin dinner. (The crockpot can be your best friend.) I then, go back and forth between the two kids. I get one set up, and assist the other. I combine studies where I can, and have the kids do assignments based on skill/age. (Usually science and social studies.)
We do school for about 3-4 hours.
After that, they help me clean up the homeschool area. We usually have lunch in the middle of the lessons. My 6 y.o. is forever asking for "a little break". :)
I toss them outside and give myself a Soap Opera break.
What is a Soap Opera break? Well, while the kiddos were doing their work, I sneak out here and there and toss in a load of laundry, maybe sweep up. The computer area is close to their workspace, so I will usually rearrange whatever is laying around the keyboard. :)
After their work is done, and they are outside playing, I grab all the washed laundry and fold while watching my recorded soaps. (Sad, I know, but I really look forward to it, ha.) In between commercials, I deliver the laundry to the appropriate rooms.
By this time, 4 days a week, my almost 2 y.o. niece arrives for me to babysit. That takes up the rest of my day for 2 of the 4 days, as I have her until my kids' bedtime. We may go outside with my kids, and play with chalk on the patio... I have my oldest do some math facts, the youngest practices her reading words... we draw, have fun...
The kids come in and watch the little one, while I clean up any mess I may have created. I nag them all day, every time they ask for something, "Is your room clean?"

It seems mean, but, I spent hours helping them organize their room, and keeping on them several times a day really helps. They are not allowed out of their room before school until it is spotless. (Like I said, I helped them arrange their rooms into bins and boxes, and if their toy did not have a place, it went into the give-away box, so their room is not hard to keep tidy... otherwise, this would be cruel.)

Also, they are very eager to help. They rinse dishes and load the dishwasher as they eat. They love to help sweep and mop. If I am running behind, they are the ones who put away the laundry. If I am running behind, I have the girls do whatever tasks they can do... wipe off th bathroom sink and mirrors, dust, etc. You've got double my help. :) Put them to work!

My kids were upset about it, at first. They thought they were bring punished... but, after a couple of days, they LOVED having a nice clean house. My 9 y.o. said, "Look, Mama, with my room clean, I can do this!" and did a funny little dance.

Once the dinner is done, 2-3 days a school week, we play a game with the kids. (My niece is here the other 2 days and games are not an option.) Usually, by that time, it is close to bed time. They usually play in their room, or my 9 y.o. volunteers to help with whatever I am doing...
Once the kids are in bed and read their bedtime story, I spend a little time with my hubby. He goes to bed. (He gets up at 530.) So, I pretty much go around the house and pick up anything that is glaringly out of place. I make sure the kitchen is cleaned up, if I haven't already. If I am making something with beans in it for dinner tomorrow, I set them in a jar to soak.
Sometimes, I know I will be making soup, so I will cut up the veggies and toss them in the crock pot, and then into the fridge. In the morning, while I am cleaning up the breakfast mess, I put those on high to cook. By dinner time it is always ready.
My kids like steel cut oats, so I toss those in a rice cooker for breakfast. If the floor needs sweeping or mopping and I am not too tired, I'll do that... pretty much, I make sure my kitchen is in tip top shape... I run the dishwasher and then, I wash up and get ready for bed. If I have enough time, I go online and maybe watch a couple shows while I figure out what we are doing tomorrow for school.

THAT BEING SAID, I began FlyLady about 2 weeks ago. I began by having a really clean kitchen. I spent half a day during the weekend cleaning it, while the hubby let me sleep in, and took the kids out of the house. I cleaned out the medicine box, organized spices, cleaned utensil holders, etc... I mean, spotless...I love seeing it so clean, so it really motivates me to keep it nice and clean. It is so nice to wake up to a clean kitchen.

One day last week, it rained, so the kids couldn't play outside. So, we cleaned their room, instead. We spent about 4 hours on it. We did the whole, "If you can't find a place for it, it goes" routine. I explained their toys weren't doing them any good under their bed, or shoved in a box. It would be awesome for another kid to have it... a kid whose parents may not be able to buy them Christmas. My kids are really into the whole giving thing, since we were doing really badly financially a couple years ago... so, we have a hip-high box filled with stuff. :) I had gone to the store and got them bins and shelves. We figured out which bins held what items. It is really easy to see where everything goes. :)

A couple days ago, we had some free time, and I had the girls clean up our spare bedroom/craft room. I tossed a lot of stuff out, too.

I also got my husband to help clean up the back yard... we ran around and swept and picked up... it looks great!

We still have our room, and a few "hot spots" to take care of, but it is really coming together.

Take one day a weekend to REALLY clean one room. Take breaks often... (or put on your IPod and rock out and pretend you are a teenager cleaning... It makes the time pass quickly.)... After that room is clean, make it your goal to get that part of your house spot checked before bed... and it really shouldn't be too hard once you get in the routine...
As for the homeschooling aspect... my kids are young, and only two... but, this is what I would try:

If your 17 year old is unmotivated, I would not nag him at all. For my 9 year old, she has a list of goals she has to meet each day. As we do them, I highlight them. I think seeing the page being highlighted motivates her. She will even go without breaks to get her work done. If she wants to do something special, and the goals are not met, too bad. She cannot do them until the goals are met. Does your 17 y.o have a planner? I explained it to my daughter that she is a big kid now, and she needs to be responsible. She LOVED the idea.

As for the 11 year old, maybe he needs more active play... my 6 y.o. is like this. She need FREQUENT breaks. Maybe have a compromise, where he does half of his schoolwork, and then, he can go sit in a tree and read the assignment for science/social studies, etc...

A biggie is getting your hubby involved. I didn't say a word to him when I began flylady. I just did it... He was so proud of my housecleaning, he helps all the time. He's like a kid, asking, "What can I do, next?"

And, no, by all means, my kids/husband are not perfect. Don't let it fool you... they complain, and whine a little... but, I ignore it. :) My 9 y.o. is prone to little whines about school being boring, and there are days that my 6 y.o. is a little space case and you cannot teach her...

Some days, it really is okay to scrap the school day, and hang out together as a family... go to a museum... do an arts and crafts day... enjoy your day... If we are not feeling too "schooly", I make sure they do their spelling, phonics and math... and we will do "fun" stuff for the rest of the day. This does not happen often... but even in public schools, they have "assemblies" or field trips... why shouldn't we?

I hope some of that rambling helped!

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